President Obama unveiled his administration's blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines Thursday, saying such an investment is necessary to reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.
The president's plan identifies 10 potential high-speed intercity corridors for federal funding, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and New England.
It also highlights potential improvements in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor running from Washington to Boston, Massachusetts.
Each of the corridors identified by the president's report are between 100 and 600 miles long. The blueprint envisions some trains traveling at top speeds of over 150 mph.
Federal grants would also be directed toward separate individual rail projects that are deemed "ready to go," with preliminary engineering and environmental work already completed.
"My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the way we travel in America. We must start developing clean, energy-efficient transportation that will define our regions for centuries to come," Obama said at an event near the White House.
The president cited the success of high-speed rail in European countries such as France and Spain as a positive example for the United States.
His plan would be funded in part through the recently passed $787 billion stimulus plan, which includes a total of $8 billion for improvements in rail service. Obama has also proposed a separate five-year, $5 billion investment in high-speed rail as part of the administration's suggested fiscal year 2010 budget.
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